Mine Boy

Mine Boy Literary Elements


Realistic fiction

Setting and Context

The setting is in Johannesburg just before the official start of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is narrated from a third-person omniscient perspective. While the point of view often stays with the protagonist Xuma, it occasionally switches to secondary characters.

Tone and Mood

The tone is matter-of-fact; the mood is melancholic and hopeful.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Xuma; the antagonist is a white supremacist South African society that oppresses underprivileged black people.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is Xuma's struggle to find love, safety, and prosperity in a society where racism restricts his ability to achieve these goals.


The novel reaches its climax when Xuma and Paddy unite to fight for the miners' rights after the mine collapses and kills Chris and Johannes. Despite being of different races and social statuses, they come together to demand better working conditions, only to be swiftly punished for their act of defiance.


The water leaking into the mine early in the novel foreshadows the mine shaft's tragic collapse at the end of the book.






Metonymy and Synecdoche